Grammatical gender is just another subset of noun classes in the world of languages. Ninja Grandma writes about the feminine frame and how linguistics plays a crucial role in how we perceive the world.
Ever since I was a child, I loved science, reading, writing, and languages. For a while, I tried to decide which route I’d choose when I went to college; science? words? Eventually, I chose linguistics, the science of language.
I was thinking recently about one of the many things I learned, namely about grammatical gender. Grammatical gender is pretty simple; you take a noun, give it a gendered attribute, obvious or arbitrary, and the words around it must agree with this attribute. This is why you say ‘la lune belle’ instead of ‘le lune beau’. In french, ‘moon’ has the grammatical gender of ‘feminine’, and so the determiner ‘the’ and the adjective ‘beautiful’ must also be feminine.
Pretty simple for anyone with a passing knowledge of European languages. In French, a romance language, there are two grammatical genders: masculine and feminine. In German, there are three: masculine, feminine, and neuter.
The interesting thing is that while women are clearly feminine, and men are clearly masculine, other nouns are given an attribute arbitrarily. The moon is feminine in French, Spanish, and Italian. However, in German and Arabic, the moon is masculine.
But here is where it gets interesting. Grammatical gender is only one type, a subset, of “Noun Classes”. Because in some languages, they do not give the attribute of male or female to nouns, but rather ‘animate’ or ‘inanimate’. These attributes still change the surrounding words, which must agree with the noun. And it can be very obvious that a human is animate and rock will be inanimate. It’s less obvious why a sock is ‘animate’ and a shoe is ‘inanimate’ in Cree. Again, the attribute given to a noun reaches the point of being arbitrary, often the exact opposite of its counterpart in other languages and cultures.
There are languages in the world with a good 10-20 different noun classes; feminine, masculine, neuter, animate, inanimate, shape, long objects, liquids, small objects, pejoratives, vegetable, and more. Some nouns’ class will be obvious, others arbitrary.
To the French, the moon likely seems womanly. To the Germans, there’s probably an entire culture of thinking of the moon as masculine. The attribution will embed itself into the culture, creating metaphors and mythologies and accepted wisdom.
I like the noun classes of the word ‘sea’. In German, it is neuter, neither male nor female. In Italian and Spanish it is masculine. In French it is feminine.
This brings me to Bitcoin. We realize, as Bitcoiners, that we get to enjoy a different time preference, which pretty quickly leads to attempts to do better, at everything, including living. I think it’s as important as everyone else.
It’s interesting to me. Women take disparate molecules and form them into an infinitely complex human child. And throughout history, men have hunted, warred, killed, and raped much more than women. Women turn chaos into order, and men turn order into chaos.
And yet it has become common among a certain vocal subset of Bitcoiners to claim that chaos is feminine and order is masculine. They then back it up with cherry-picked myths, deities of noun personification, and ancient Asian philosophies. “Order is always portrayed as masculine, and chaos as feminine.”
The world is much bigger than that.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that chaos is not always bad. I most enjoy the days at work that are filled with chaos, when a certain flow state must be achieved in my mind to make things flow smoothly in the piece of the world I must direct. It’s a dance, and I am in love with it.
It's the blank canvas I create order on. It’s art, lived. It’s freedom and creativity.
It’s not inherently feminine though. Just as I’m not being masculine just because I create order in this artful living. Sorry guys, you don’t get to take credit for that.
I looked it up, you know. Instead of just reading a few authors and thinkers who said ‘hey, all the myths back up this idea’, I went and verified, instead of trusting some imagined authority.
There is everything to back up the noun classes of words such as ‘chaos’ and ‘order’--arbitrary and contradictory--and nothing backing any inherent gender.
There are many masculine deities of chaos personified. Egypt’s Apophis, Nun, and later Seth. Canaan’s Yam and Tannin. Leviathin, Satan. The Greek's Dionysus and Typhon. The Hindu-Vedic Vritra. Zoroastrian’s Angra Mainyu, and Persia’s Ahriman. The deity Chaos in Greece and Rome appears to have been neuter. There was the Slavic Chernobag, Africa Dogon’s god Ogo, China’s Hundun, the Aztec’s Ometecuhtli and Chalchiutotolin, the Mayan Huracan and Ek Chuah, the Celtic Balor.
There are many personifications of Order that are feminine around the world too. Greek; Themis, Eunomia, Dike, Kybele, Athena, and several others. Egypt’s Neith, Sia, Isis, Maat, and Seshat. Armenia’s Anahit. The Slavic Lada. Some of the lists I found of ‘deities of order’ listed more goddesses than gods.
Chaos is a noun. Order is a noun. They often have a noun class, either in the grammar, or in the culture. It is often personified. But they are not inherently masculine or feminine, but rather arbitrarily so. Interesting side note, however; Chaos did consistently correlate with something else across the world. It had nothing to do with masculine and feminine, but rather to do with the ocean, the sea, hurricanes, typhoons, and saltwater across cultures on every continent.
I understand the Bitcoiners claiming chaos is feminine and order is masculine will then go on to say ‘but it’s not a bad thing’. They also proceed to then say ‘it’s not bad women are feminine,’ then list as feminine traits passive aggression, moodiness, holding grudges, lacking self-control, destructive, and other such negative traits that true masculine men must purge. As though good character is something women are incapable of. There are even women in the community defending this viewpoint (but there have always been abused individuals defending their abusers, so I see no reason they wouldn't also defend something less extreme such as this).
Look, men, you can have that opinion if you want, but your standards for women are extremely low and you deserve the misery women like that bring you if that's all you think exists to be found.
But news flash folks; these are not feminine or masculine traits. These are childish traits. So please, grow up.